Posts Tagged ‘Vietnamese’

Philippines: President Duterte Foes Amend Impeachment Complaint, Call Duterte Stance on China ‘Dereliction of Duty’

March 20, 2017
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano holds a copy of the impeachment complaint he filed against President Duterte at the House of Representatives on Thursday. photo
MANILA, Philippines — Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said that his group is considering  filing a supplemental complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte for allegedly being subservient to China.
Alejano’s statement came after Duterte claimed last week that he allowed China to send survey ships to Benham Rise as part of an agreement.
The Department of Foreign Affairs last week said it was not aware of an agreement or policy over the Benham Rise region.
In an interview on CNN’s ‘The Source,’ Alejano said that the president’s action is a matter of national security since there is a conflict of interest with China on the West Philippine Sea, the part of the South China Sea that Manila claims.
“We’re talking about national interest here, we’re talking about national security here because we have a clear conflict of interest in West Philippine Sea,” Alejano said.
China has repeatedly reiterated its position over the South China Sea, saying it has a historical and legal claim over the vast area.
An international tribunal however, ruled in favor of the Philippines in an arbitration case against China, saying that China’s “nine-dash line” claim over a large part of the South China Sea, including part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, has no basis.
In a speech on Sunday, Duterte also said that he cannot stop China from setting up a reported monitoring station in the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag or Bajo de Masinloc.
“We cannot stop China from doing its thing. Hindi nga napara ng Amerikano,” Duterte said.
Duterte added that the country will lose all of its military and policemen if he declares war against China.
Alejano however, said that war is not the only solution, saying that the president could constantly raise issues in the West Philippines Sea.
“He’s not doing that because he’s afraid to offend China,” Alejano said.
He added that if Duterte said he cannot do anything to protect the country’s territory “then that’s dereliction of duty.”
 (Contains links to several previos articles on the South China Sea)

Philippine President Duterte Seeking Allies For At Sea Code of Conduct

March 20, 2017
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Duterte is welcomed by his Myanmar counterpart U Htin Kyaw at the Presidential Palace in the capital Naypyitaw yesterday. Duterte flew to Bangkok, Thailand last night. AP

MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to avoid tension in disputed areas in the South China Sea, President Duterte called for support for the approval of a Code of Conduct (COC) among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“It’s very important for China and the rest of the nations, especially the ASEAN, to come up with a Code of Conduct,” Duterte said in a press briefing in Myanmar on Sunday night.

The President also pitched for the COC while he was in Myanmar, which was part of the last leg of his introductory tour of Southeast Asia in the run-up to the ASEAN summit this November in Manila.

The Declaration on the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was signed by all members of ASEAN and China on Nov. 4, 2002. It lists the principles of self-restraint and non-militarization.

Duterte said he would invoke the arbitral ruling favoring Philippine claims if China starts gathering mineral resources from the disputed areas.

“Kung ang China kukuha na sila ng mga oil o uranium (If China starts getting oil or uranium) or whatever that’s inside the bowels of the sea, kalabitin ko sila (I will do something). Ako man rin ang may-ari niyan (We own it). You claim it by historical right, but by judgment I won and it’s mine,” he said.

But Duterte again admitted that the Philippines cannot stop China from building a radar station at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal because the Philippine military is no match for Chinese armed forces. And he cannot allow Filipino soldiers to go to disputed areas to avoid casualties.

“First hour pa lang ubos na ‘yun (they are finished already). We are not in a position to declare war,” he said.

“But I said to China that someday during my term as President, I will have to confront you about the arbitral ruling and that would be maybe, during the time when you begin to extract minerals and the riches of what is inside the bowels of the earth,” he added.

Duterte also claimed that the United States is also “scared” of China.

“Hindi nga natin mapigilan kasi hindi natin kaya ang China. Hindi nga mapigilan ng Amerikano. In the first place, sa umpisa pa lang niyan, hindi na pumunta ang Amerikano, natakot na (We cannot stop China. Even the Americans cannot stop it. In the first place, from the start America did not respond, they got scared right away),” he said.

He noted that what the Philippines has right now are only entitlements.

“Just entitlement, not territory. I said repeatedly it is not within our territorial waters. But what we are trying to achieve is that we are also recognized to own the entitlements,” he said.

“The structures have nothing to do with the economic zone. It might impede but actually it’s a construction that would disturb the navigation of the sea,” he added.

Despite China’s excessive claims, Duterte said he is working to further bolster economic and trade ties between Manila and Beijing.

Defend Panatag

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded Duterte that he has the constitutional duty to defend Panatag Shoal from Chinese incursion.

Carpio also formulated a five-point strategy on how the Duterte administration can respond to China’s reported plan to install a radar station in the disputed shoal.

The magistrate explained that Panatag is part of the national territory under Republic Act No. 9522 or Philippine Baselines Law and should be defended to “preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea.”

But he stressed that since the Philippines cannot match the military power of China, Duterte may opt for other actions to defend the country’s sovereignty over the shoal and fulfill his duty as president.

First, Carpio suggested that the government should file a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

“This is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels,” he added.

The PCA ruled that Panatag Shoal is a “common fishing ground” of fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from China and other neighboring countries and nullified China’s nine-dash line claim over South China Sea. The justice said the government could also send the Philippine Navy to patrol the shoal.

“If the Chinese attack Philippine Navy vessels, then invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine navy vessels operating in the South China Sea,” he suggested.



China is more than willing to share the Philippines with Filipinos, Beijing says — And Vietnam?

March 20, 2017

By Alan Robles


Posted at Mar 20 2017 04:18 PM

China is more than willing to share the Philippines with Filipinos, Beijing said yesterday.

According to official China spokesperson Rodrigo Duterte, “there’s no need to be greedy, there is more than enough Philippines to go around.”

“Equal shares with equal brothers,” he added.

 Image may contain: 1 person, sitting
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reacts during a press conference at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines on Monday, March 13, 2017. AP/Aaron Favila

The spokesperson said China was making the “generous offer in the light of the extra warm relations between our countries.” The announcement came after the two countries signed a groundbreaking agreement called the “Extra Close Special Luv Kiss Kiss” treaty.

Part of the agreement will see the Philippines receiving billions of yuan in loans, a national railway called the China’s Durable Railroad (CDR) and fentanyl.

“We particularly value the fentanyl,” said a Filipino diplomat who asked not to be identified.

Tabs of fentanyl, manufactured to look like prescription pills, are seen in a synthetic drug-testing lab at the Drug Enforcement Agency's Special Testing and Research Lab in Sterling, Va. in 2016

Tabs of fentanyl, manufactured to look like prescription pills, are seen in a synthetic drug-testing lab at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s Special Testing and Research Lab in Sterling, Va. in 2016.  PHOTO: T.J. KIRKPATRICK FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The Philippines promises (among other things) to stop using the name “West Philippine Sea” (WPS) and instead adopt the “proper nomenclature” – “Very Much China’s Sea Oh Yes Indeedy” (VMCSOYI).

China, for its part, will invest heavily in the Philippines and buy more products such as bananas, copies of the Duterte Manifesto, and Filipino entertainment series. One Chinese politician said, “China would like to the rights to that famous comedy show, ‘The Senate Hearings.’ It’s a big hit in Beijing.”

Chinese officials “strenuously” denied rumors the Philippines had actually turned itself over to China, which officially responded with a statement, “Awww you shouldn’t have, but thanks.”

“That is clearly nonsense,” one Beijing diplomat assured. “What’s ours is ours and what’s yours is ours.”

Image result for oil rig, china flag, photos

China announced that on this historic occasion, as a sign of its “fraternal ties” with Manila, China would waive all fees to Filipinos swimming on the beaches off Lingayan.

“Offer valid for summer only, terms may apply,” a Chinese official said, off the record.

A senior Chinese leader told a press conference, “and if you’re extra good and well behaved, we’ll even let you share the resources of Benham Rise.”

Told by one reporter that Benham Rise is on the Pacific side of the Philippines, well outside the South China Sea, the Chinese leader made a cutting motion on his throat and the reporter was dragged away screaming.

“Next question please,” the official said.

Spokesperson Duterte expressed confidence that with “mutual confidence and more hard work” Manila would acknowledge China’s “indisputable” rights to the Pacific Ocean, the North Pole, the aurora borealis and the Moon.

Philippine diplomats declared the country was more than prepared to assert its rights in the strongest ways, which would follow two tracks: the first would consist of “strong declarations” made in the “loudest possible whisper” in a deep dark basement in Malacañang Palace.

“With the door closed and the lights out,” one undersecretary stressed.

The second track would consist of shooting more Filipinos.

“Why not, we’ve been very successful at it,” the undersec shrugged.

Beijing said it was “pleased” the agreement frees the Philippines from the “onerous” job of defending territory, letting it focus on really crucial priorities, such as training more world class professional boxers to become idiot senators.

In fact, spokesperson Duterte said, “China doesn’t see what the Philippines needs a military for. Get rid of that thing. Nothing to defend.”

A junketing member of the Philippine delegation said the agreement was a “win-win” because “this will avoid an unnecessary bloody war.”

“Because as we all know, the only way you settle territorial disputes is by bloody war. It says so right here in the “Duterte Manual of Negotiation and Tokhang.”

The Philippine delegation said it was “overcome with gratitude” for Beijing’s generosity.

“On behalf of the Philippines we thank you,” Philippine president Rodrigo said.

“You’re welcome”, China spokesperson Duterte replied.


Indonesian Woman Arrested in Connection With North Korean’s VX Death Was Paid $90

February 25, 2017

Indonesian Woman Arrested in Connection With North Korean’s VX Death Was Paid $90

BBC News

Siti Aisyah

Siti Aisyah “met some people who looked Japanese or Korean”, Indonesian officials said

An Indonesian woman arrested for the murder of the half-brother of North Korea’s leader has said she was given 400 Malaysian ringgits ($90) to carry out a prank.

Indonesian embassy officials met Siti Aisyah, 25, on Saturday in the Malaysian capital.

She said she was given the cash to smear Kim Jong-nam’s face with “baby oil” as part of a reality show joke.

Tests show Mr Kim was killed with the highly toxic nerve agent VX.

It is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.

Who could be behind the attack?

Unravelling the mystery of Kim Jong-nam’s death

Mr Kim died last week after two women accosted him briefly in a check-in hall at a Kuala Lumpur airport.

There is widespread suspicion that North Korea was behind the attack, which it strongly denies.

A Vietnamese woman and a North Korean man have also been arrested in connection with the killing. At least seven other suspects are wanted by police.

After a 30-minute meeting with Siti Aisyah on Saturday, Indonesian Deputy Ambassador Andreano Erwin said: “She only said in general that somebody asked her to do this activity. She only said in general she met with some people who looked Japanese or Korean.

“According to her, that person gave her 400 ringgits to do this activity… She only said she was given a kind of oil, like baby oil.”

The officials said they did not see any physical signs that the suspect had been affected by the chemical.

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong is the other woman being held

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong is the other woman being held. Reuters

Vietnamese officials also met their arrested national, Doan Thi Huong, but made no comment.

Malaysia’s police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said on Friday that the presence of the nerve agent had been detected in swabs taken from Mr Kim’s eyes and face.

Mr Kim had sought medical help at the airport, saying someone had splashed or sprayed him with liquid. He then had a seizure and died on the way to hospital.

What is the deadly VX nerve agent?

VX nerve agent, molecular model.

Molecular model of VX nerve agent shows atoms represented as spheres.  SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

  • The most potent of the known chemical warfare agents, it is a clear, amber-coloured, oily liquid which is tasteless and odourless
  • Works by penetrating the skin and disrupting the transmission of nerve impulses – a drop on the skin can kill in minutes. Lower doses can cause eye pain, blurred vision, drowsiness and vomiting
  • It can be disseminated in a spray or vapour when used as a chemical weapon, or used to contaminate water, food, and agricultural products
  • VX can be absorbed into the body by inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or eye contact
  • Clothing can carry VX for about 30 minutes after contact with the vapour, which can expose other people
  • Banned by the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention

Read more about VX

Who was Kim Jong-nam?

Kim Jong-nam

North Korea has not identified the man who died as Kim Jong-nam, only as a North Korean citizen. AP photo

The well-travelled and multilingual oldest son of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, he was once considered a potential future leader. He has lived abroad for years and was bypassed in favour of his half-brother, Kim Jong-un.

He had been travelling on a passport under the name Kim Chol. North Korea has yet to confirm that the deceased was actually Kim Jong-nam.

For many years, it was believed Kim Jong-nam was being groomed to succeed his father as the next leader.

But that appears to have come to an end in 2001 when Kim was caught sneaking into Japan on a fake passport.

He later became one of the regime’s most high-profile critics, openly questioning the authoritarian policies and dynastic succession his grandfather Kim Il-sung began crafting in 1948.

Pirates attack Vietnamese-flagged cargo ship off the southern Philippines — One killed

February 20, 2017


© AFP/File | Pirates have attacked a Vietnamese-flagged cargo ship off the southern Philippines

MANILA (AFP) – Pirates have attacked a Vietnamese-flagged cargo ship off the southern Philippines, killing one seaman and abducting at least six others in a region notorious for such attacks, officials said Monday.

The MV Giang Hai was attacked by pirates Sunday near the southernmost Philippine island of Baguan near the Malaysian coast, said coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo.

Philippine coast guard speedboats reached the scene but found one Vietnamese dead and at least six others abducted, said military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo.

Arevalo said it was too early to say if the attackers were members of the Abu Sayyaf, a Filipino Muslim extremist group that has been abducting people for ransom in the south for decades.

The waters between Malaysia and the southern Philippines have become increasingly dangerous in recent years as Filipino Muslim extremists have taken to piracy, boarding ships and seizing seamen for ransom.

Maritime officials have warned of an emerging “Somalia-type” situation in the waters if the attacks are not addressed.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said earlier this month that his country plans to ask longstanding defence ally the United States to hold joint exercises in the southern waters.

President Rodrigo Duterte has also urged China to launch patrols off the piracy-plagued waters.

The International Maritime Bureau said in January the number of maritime kidnappings hit a 10-year high in 2016, with waters off the southern Philippines becoming increasingly dangerous.


Philippines Says Vietnamese Ship Attacked; 1 Dead, 6 Abducted — Identity of the attackers remains unknown but pirates suspected

February 20, 2017

The Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines — Gunmen attacked a Vietnamese cargo ship off the Philippines’ southern tip, killing a Vietnamese crewman and abducting six others including the vessel’s captain, the Philippine coast guard and the ship’s owner said Monday.

 February 20, 2017 | 11:18 am GMT+7

1 killed as Vietnamese vessel attacked by pirates near Philippines

The Giang Hai, which has been attacked near the Philippines on Sunday. Photo provided by the operator

Coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said the Vietnamese coast guard reported that the MV Giang Hai, with 17 crewmen on board, was attacked by pirates Sunday night about 20 miles (31 kilometers) north of Pearl Bank in Tawi-Tawi, the Philippines’ southernmost province.

No automatic alt text available.

Personnel of the Philippine coast guard, police and marines found the ship had drifted near the province’s Baguan Island. Upon boarding the vessel, they found 10 Vietnamese sailors alive and one dead.

Pham Van Hien, head of the safety department of Pham Hai shipping company, the owner of the cargo ship based in Vietnam’s northern port city of Hai Phong, said the captain was among those abducted. The attack occurred while the vessel was transporting 4,500 tons of cement from Indonesia to the Philippines, he said.

The gunmen destroyed some of the ship’s equipment, but the 10 remaining crew members managed to sail the ship, Hien said.

Hien said the company had informed the IMB Piracy Reporting Center in Malaysia seeking its help in securing the return of the kidnapped crew members.

Balilo said pursuit operations are underway, but the location of the abducted crewmen and the identity of the attackers remain unknown.

Abu Sayyaf militants and allied gunmen are suspected of being behind previous sea assaults in the area, including an attack last November on another Vietnamese cargo ship whose captain and five crewmen were also kidnapped. They are still being held.

Ransom kidnappings of Malaysian, Indonesian and Vietnamese crewmen have continued despite heightened coastal and border security.


Associated Press writer Tran Van Minh in Hanoi, Vietnam, contributed to this report.

The remaining 10 crew members were left on the adrift vessel.

The operator of the Giang Hai ship said it was carrying cement from Indonesia and was attacked at around 6 p.m. on Sunday near the Sulu Archipelago to the southwest of the Philippines.

The pirates damaged the boat and let it drift, shot Vu Duc Hanh, 21, from the northern city of Hai Phong, before they left with six other crew members including the captain.

An official from Vietnam’s transport ministry said a Vietnamese cargo vessel in the area has reached the ship and towed it to a Malaysian port. Filipino police have started an investigation.

There has been no update on the abductees.

Vietnamese authorities plan to seek help from the Filipino government to demand the release of the crew members.

Kim Jong-nam death: Network releases purported CCTV footage of assassination

February 20, 2017

Leaked CCTV footage allegedly shows Kim Jong-nam being assassinated

Warning: Graphic content.


Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the video, and police officials were not immediately available for comment.

Kim Jong-nam killing: CCTV footage appears to show attack on North Korean

CCTV footage purportedly showing the deadly assault in Malaysia on the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by a woman, who is believed to have wiped a fast-acting poison on his face, has been released by Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV.

Kim Jong-nam died last Monday a short time after the attack in the departure hall of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where he had been preparing to take a flight to Macau.

Who killed Kim Jong-nam?

Malaysian police have detained four suspects — a Vietnamese woman, an Indonesian woman, a Malaysian man, and North Korean man — and are on the hunt for four other North Koreans who fled the country on the day of the attack.

At least three of the wanted North Koreans caught an Emirates flight to Dubai from Jakarta late on the same day, an Indonesian immigration office official said.

It is reported they then flew to Pyongyang, although Malaysian police have not confirmed this.

The immigration spokesman revealed the three suspects Ri Jae Nam, Hong Song Hac and Ri Ji Hyon flew on Emirates flight 359 from Soekarno Hatta international airport to Dubai on February 13.

A fourth North Korean man also wanted by Malaysian police was recorded as departing Jakarta’s international airport on January 19.

The grainy closed circuit television footage, which has been released on several websites, showed from two different angles a woman wearing a white top grab a man’s face from behind with both hands and walk away.

A second woman was also seen walking swiftly away in another direction after the assault, though it was unclear if she had participated in the attack.

The portly, balding middle-aged man was seen stumbling and wiping his face after the assault, and later clips showed him seeking help from people while gesturing to his face and then being escorted to a clinic.

More footage showed him inside the clinic seeking medical assistance.

Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the videos, and police officials were not immediately available for comment.

In a press conference on Sunday, police said the victim complained to the airport customer service personnel that two women had “wiped his face with a liquid”.

Malaysia recalls ambassador over autopsy spat

The diplomatic rift between Malaysia and North Korea is deepening, with North Korea saying it cannot trust the investigation by Malaysian police and demanding a joint probe.

The Malaysians went ahead with the autopsy despite North Korea’s opposition, saying they were simply following protocol.

Who’s who in North Korea

In a five-page statement read to the press, North Korean ambassador Kang Chol said the country also questioned the identity of the dead man, saying he was only known to them as Kim Chol from his passport.

“It has been seven days since the incident but there is no clear evidence on the cause of death and at the moment we cannot trust the investigation by the Malaysian police,” the ambassador said in Kuala Lumpur.

“It only increases the doubt that there could be someone else’s hand behind the investigation,” he said.

“All the happenings clearly show that this incident is politicised by Malaysia in collusion with [South Korea].”

The ambassador then demanded a joint investigation into the death of its citizen and said Malaysia should be held responsible for the “many rumours” which have defamed North Korea’s image.

North Korea has also demanded to speak to the two women who have been arrested.

On Monday, the Malaysian foreign ministry said in a statement it would recall its ambassador to Pyongyang over the comments.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the country had no reason “to paint North Korea in a bad light” and would be objective in its inquiry.

Malaysia’s health minister, Subramaniam Sathasivam, said the autopsy results could be released as early as Wednesday.

Malaysian authorities have given Kim Jong-nam’s next of kin two weeks to come forward to help in the investigation.

South Korean and US officials believe Kim Jong-nam was killed by agents from the reclusive North.

South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn told a meeting of South Korea’s National Security Council on Monday that it was nearly certain that North Korea was behind the killing.

Kim Jong-nam, 46, who had been living in the Chinese territory of Macau under Beijing’s protection, had spoken out publicly against his family’s dynastic control of the isolated, nuclear-armed nation.

Timeline of suspected NK killings

  • 1968: Commandos, dressed as SK military, attempt to assassinate President Park Chung-hee. Stopped 800 metres from the Blue House, 29 of 31 would-be assassins were killed.
  • 1974: Suspected NK agent shoots at Park during Independence Day speech, missing and instead killing his wife.
  • 1983: Bomb explodes at Myanmar memorial during SK President Chun Doo-hwan’s visit. SK foreign minister and 20 others killed. One bomber confesses to being NK military.
  • 1987: Two suspected NK agents plant bomb on SK plane from Baghdad to Seoul. Bomb explodes after pair disembarks in Abu Dhabi — 115 people, mostly from SK, die.
  • 1997: NK defector Lee Han-young, Kim Jong-nam’s cousin, is shot and killed in SK by two people who were never caught. Suspected to be NK agents.
  • 2010: SK authorities arrest two NK operatives the South say were on a mission to assassinate Hwang Jang-yop, a defector and former NK Workers’ Party secretary.
  • 2011: A NK agent was jailed in the South for attempting to assassinate Park Sang-hak, a NK defector, with a poison-tipped needle.

Source: Reuters


The Latest: Malaysia PM Defends Probe Into N. Korean’s Death, Recalls Envoy from North Korea — North Korean “terrorism getting bolder”

February 20, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The Latest on the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother, Kim Jong Nam (all times local):

5 p.m.:

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak is defending his country’s investigation into the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half brother in the face of criticism by Pyongyang’s ambassador.

Najib told reporters Monday that he has “absolute confidence” that police and doctors have been “very objective” in their work.

Earlier Monday, North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol alleged that Malaysia’s investigation was politically motivated. Najib said Malaysia had no reason to “paint the North Koreans in a bad light” but added, “We expect them to understand that we apply the rule of law in Malaysia.”

Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, died last week after apparently being poisoned in a Kuala Lumpur airport.


BBC News

Kim Jong-nam killing: Malaysia recalls envoy from North Korea

People watch a television showing news reports of Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, at a railway station in Seoul o

The murder of Kim Jong-nam in Kuala Lumpur last week has sparked a diplomatic row. AFP photo

Malaysia has stepped up diplomatic measures against North Korea in an escalating row over the killing of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-nam died in mysterious circumstances last week at an airport in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

Police believe he was poisoned.

Malaysia has recalled its ambassador from the North Korean capital Pyongyang and has summoned the North Korean ambassador “to seek an explanation”.

Malaysian police say they are now looking for four North Koreans.

North Korea’s ambassador to Kuala Lumpur, Kang Chol, told reporters that he did not trust the Malaysian inquiry.

“It has been seven days since the incident but there is no clear evidence on the cause of the death and at the moment we cannot trust the investigation by the Malaysian police even though its results [have yet to be] obtained.

“It only increases the doubt that there is someone else’s hand behind the investigation.”

North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol, waves paper as he speaks outside the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (February 20, 2017)

North Korea’s ambassador, Kang Chol, said he did not trust the Malaysian probe. Reuters

He said that the incident had been “politicised” and referred to the victim as Kim Chol – the alias used by the dead man.

Meanwhile a video which apparently shows CCTV footage of the attack on Kim Jong-nam has surfaced and aired on Japanese television.

Despite widespread speculation that North Korea was behind the killing, there has been no definitive evidence and Pyongyang has not issued an official statement yet.

South Korea has accused the North of orchestrating the incident, saying on Monday it was evidence of North Korean “terrorism getting bolder”.

What has led to the diplomatic spat?

Malaysia was one of very few countries to maintain diplomatic relations with North Korea, but this killing has strained ties.

Malaysia has refused to accede to North Korean demands to release Kim’s body into their custody without an autopsy.

In comments on Friday, Mr Kang, the North Korean ambassador, said Malaysia was colluding with “hostile forces”. That provoked an angry response from the Malaysian foreign ministry.

It said his accusation was “baseless”, adding that it was their responsibility to conduct an investigation as Kim had died on Malaysian soil.

A North Korean man (second right) identified by the Malaysian police as Ri Jon-chol is taken to a police station in Sepang, Malaysia, February 18, 2017.

One North Korean man has already been arrested in connection with the case. Reuters

What’s happening to Kim’s body?

Malaysian authorities are now waiting for the results of its post mortem, which may come as early as Wednesday, the health minister said.

Kang Chol said his country would reject the result as it was performed without the presence of its representatives.

Malaysia also says it needs to conduct DNA testing first.

Police are now seeking samples from family members. Kim is believed to have family living in Beijing and Macau.

Malaysian police have said that if there is no claim by next of kin and once they exhaust all avenues for DNA collection, they will hand the body over to the North Korean embassy.

Who has been arrested so far?

Kim is believed to have been attacked in the Kuala Lumpur airport departure hall on Monday by two women, using some form of chemical.

Fuji TV has aired grainy CCTV footage showing a man resembling Kim Jong-nam approached by a woman at the airport.

Another woman then quickly lunges from behind and wipes his face with a cloth. She is seen wearing a white top emblazoned with the letters “LOL”.

Grainy image shows a woman with brown hair wearing a T-shirt with the letters
This CCTV image has been broadcast by South Korean and Malaysian media. REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

The man is then seen seeking assistance from airport staff while gesturing at his face, and is escorted to a room.

Two women, one Indonesian and one Vietnamese, were among the first to be arrested. The Indonesian, named as Siti Aisyah, is said to have told Malaysian police she had been paid to perform what she thought was a prank.

Police have also detained one North Korean suspect, Ri Jong-chol, and said they are looking for four more men, who may have already left the country.

The men have been named as Ri Ji Hyon, 33; Hong Song Hac, 34; O Jong Gil, 55, and Ri Jae Nam, 57.

Handout pictures released by the Royal Malaysian Police in Kuala Lumpur on February 19, 2017 showing CCTV images and passport style photos of suspects Hong Song Hac, Ri Ji Hyon.

Hong Song Hac, 34, and Ri Ji Hyon, 33, are wanted by Malaysian police. AFP

Who was Kim Jong-nam?

Kim was the first-born son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who died in 2011.

He was largely estranged from his family, after being passed over for the North Korean leadership in favour of his youngest half-brother.

He went into exile in the early 2000s, spending most of his time in Macau, mainland China and Singapore.

Deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (left) with his first-born son Kim Jong-nam (right) in a 1981 family photo
Deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (left) with his first-born son Kim Jong-nam (right) in a 1981 family photo. Getty Images

Kim had spoken out in the past against his family’s dynastic control of North Korea. In a 2012 book he was quoted as saying he believed his younger half-brother lacked leadership qualities.

But he had also said he was not interested in assuming the leadership himself.

North Korean family tree showing Kim Jong Nam as the son of Kim Jong-il and Sung-Hae-rim

Prayer and Meditation for Tuesday, February 14, 2017 — Listen With Your Heart — Flee the temptation of narcissism

February 13, 2017

Memorial of Saints Cyril, Monk, and Methodius, Bishop
Lectionary: 336

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, twilight, outdoor, nature and water

Do you not yet understand or comprehend? — Are your hearts hardened? — Do you have eyes and not see and ears and not hear?

Reading 1 GN 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10

When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth,
and how no desire that his heart conceived
was ever anything but evil,
he regretted that he had made man on the earth,
and his heart was grieved.

So the LORD said:
“I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created,
and not only the men,
but also the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air,
for I am sorry that I made them.”
But Noah found favor with the LORD.

Then the LORD said to Noah:
“Go into the ark, you and all your household,
for you alone in this age have I found to be truly just.
Of every clean animal, take with you seven pairs,
a male and its mate;
and of the unclean animals, one pair,
a male and its mate;
likewise, of every clean bird of the air, seven pairs,
a male and a female,
and of all the unclean birds, one pair,
a male and a female.
Thus you will keep their issue alive over all the earth.
Seven days from now I will bring rain down on the earth
for forty days and forty nights,
and so I will wipe out from the surface of the earth
every moving creature that I have made.”
Noah did just as the LORD had commanded him.

As soon as the seven days were over,
the waters of the flood came upon the earth.

Responsorial Psalm PS 29:1A AND 2, 3AC-4, 3B AND 9C-10

R. (11b) The Lord will bless his people with peace.
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and praise,
Give to the LORD the glory due his name;
adore the LORD in holy attire.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters,
the LORD, over vast waters.
The voice of the LORD is mighty;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders,
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The LORD is enthroned above the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as king forever.
R. The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Alleluia JN 14:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord;
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.”
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Image may contain: one or more people
Listen With Your Heart

The first time I became completely confused by my Vietnamese family, the only helper I could think of that might have a solution was the Vietnamese priest.

When I explained at length my dilemma, he gave me the best four word advice I’ve ever heard:

“Listen with your heart,”  he said.

I had no idea my heart had ears. In fact, I’d pretty much forgotten about my heart entirely (a common American illness).

So now, I give that advice out to other, like me, who sometimes forget why they are here (hear) on this earth. We’re here to listen and serve others.

And to get them what they need, we need to listen with our heart.

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

Praise Jesus for St. Teresa of Ávila who gave us one of the simplest and finest prayers, “Let Nothing Disturb You” –
Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.
Nada te turbe;
nada te espante;
todo se pasa;
Dios no se muda,
la paciencia todo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene, nada le falta.
Solo Dios basta.


Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
14 FEBRUARY, 2017, Tuesday, 6th Week, Ordinary Time

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ Neh 8:2-4. 5-6. 8-10; Ps 18:8-10. 15; Eph 2:19-22; Lk 19:1-10  ]

As we gather to dedicate our restored Cathedral this evening, we too can share the sentiments of the Israelites who gathered to thank God for the rebuilding of the ruined wall of Jerusalem.  We read that “the people were all in tears as they listened to the words of the Law.”  Why were they in tears?  This was because they could not believe their eyes that God could be so merciful to them, to inspire the pagan King of Persia not just to send his governor, Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem but even provided them financial and logistic help.  It was unthinkable that such a thing was possible.  But it happened and now the walls were restored.

So too, the restoration of this Cathedral was a very daunting task.  This is because the Cathedral, being the Mother Church, has no parishioners to support the renovation efforts, as her children are all over Singapore. As such, the restoration of this Cathedral had to depend largely on the generosity of Catholics all over Singapore, poor and rich.  If not the fact that the bulk of the funds came from the reserves of our parishes and some big benefactors, we would never have been able to collect enough to fund the restoration!  For this we want to thank God.  Many also came forward to help by offering their professional advice and services in all ways.  Without these generous people and their love for the mother Church, this Cathedral would have remained a dilapidated structure, almost like the ruined walls of Jerusalem.  Hence we cannot but cry with joy for the work done and the completion of this restoration.

Yet, in spite of the glory and magnificence of this Cathedral, the scripture reminds us that the Church is not a building but an assembly of people who love God and give glory to Him by their lives.  The Church is in reality the Household of God, made up of different members but all united in love in Christ because we all share in His adopted sonship, making us all children of our Heavenly Father.  This is what St Paul tells us.  “You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors: you are citizens like all the saints, and part of God’s household.”

Indeed, in Christ, all barriers have now been broken.  St Paul, writing to the Galatians said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  (Gal 3:28)   The Church therefore must be inclusive and not exclusive.  The Church belongs to all because God is our Father.  Indeed, the Church must be careful not to turn anyone away, for that is not what God wants.  The Church belongs to all, saints and sinners, rich and poor alike.  The Church welcomes all humanity, even those who do not believe in God or in Christ.  The Good News is offered to all without exception.  Christ, by His death and resurrection, has reconciled humanity into one.  Love unites us all.

Consequently, the Church exists first and foremost for her members.  The Church as mother, has the role of nurturing members of the family, particularly the young.  This is the task of all mothers.  So as mother Church, she is concerned about the faith of her children.  As mother, she gives birth to new members and continues to nurture them particularly through the Word of God and the sacraments.  We read in today’s first reading how Ezra, the scribe, proclaimed and preached the Word of God to the people so that they could be enlightened and walk the way of the Lord.

But the Church is also for sinners, not just for saints.  The Church exists for sinners who seek to find fullness of life.  No matter how great a sinner we may be, no one is beyond salvation.  In His ministry, Jesus fellowshiped with prostitutes and tax collectors.  Of course, we know that tax-collectors were most hated by the Jews because they collaborated with the Roman authorities in collecting taxes that were used not just for political activities but for the building of pagan temples.  Most of all, they were profiteering by overcharging their fellow Jews as well.  Zacchaeus was not only a tax-collector but a senior tax collector.

Catholics must be careful not to fall into self-righteousness and hypocrisy by complaining like the scribes and Pharisees, “He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house.” Let us not forget that we are sinners as well and no better than others.  We all need conversion of heart; not just those whom we deem to be sinners.  This was partially why the Israelites cried after hearing the Word of God read and explained to them.  “For the people were all in tears as they listened to the words of the Law.” This was because they came to realize how far they were from living the laws of God; and that the destruction of the Temple was principally due to their sinfulness and turning away from God.

The Church is not a matter of right liturgy and solemn worship if our worship of God is not translated to works of charity.  Indeed, we cannot call ourselves the Church, the People of God, unless we love all men as Jesus did because the Heavenly Father gives the rain to all alike.   The Church has a preferential option for the poor, the marginalized and the suffering. It is not enough to keep the celebration of God’s love to ourselves but we are called to share our joy with others.  Hence, in the first reading, the people were instructed to “go, eat the fat, drink the sweet wine, and send a portion to the man who has nothing prepared ready.”  The proclamation of the gospel is not just words and doctrines but a sharing with the poor, the hungry and those in need.  The Church cannot ever neglect her commitment to alleviating suffering in the world in all its forms.  That is why the Church’s works of charity is equal in importance to the worship of God.  Jesus makes it clear that we must love the Lord with all our heart, soul and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  The Eucharist we celebrate is the love of God and we must extend this love in our hearts to our brothers and sisters.   For this reason, we have installed the statue of the homeless Jesus in our garden to remind us of our obligation towards the poor.  In this cathedral too, we are supplying food to the hungry every Sunday afternoon, and we have reserved a special fund just to help the poor.

But the poor today are not simply the materially poor.  This might be so in many poor and underdeveloped countries.  In Singapore, we still have those who are materially poor but the majority are poor in love, poor in meaning and purpose.  Many who are rich and successful live empty, lonely and meaningless lives.  Life has no meaning when we do not have a purpose.  When we have made enough money to see us through in this life, money becomes useless.  It is just a number.  How much money do we need for food, clothing, accommodation, transport and medical care?  We cannot take the money with us anywhere.  Those of us who have millions of dollars will never be able to use all of it for ourselves.  They would be left for someone else to use.  So many of us are like Zacchaeus.  We are successful and have everything we need and more.  But food and pleasure cannot give us real happiness in life unless our soul and spirit are quenched.  The yearning of the soul and the hunger of the heart can only be quenched by love, the love of God and love of our neighbours. Only love that is lasting, God’s love, can fulfill our hunger.

Indeed, for those of us who have found God like Zacchaeus, our lives would be transformed.  Ezra told the people, “For this day is sacred to our Lord. Do not be sad: the joy of the Lord is your stronghold.”  With the joy of God in our hearts, we need no longer cling to the things of this world.  If our happiness is dependent on just having pleasure in life, we are no better than an animal.  Ultimately, we live for meaning, and a purpose; not just for this life but for a life beyond.  Only living for something beyond can give us passion and hope beyond this world.  Thus, when Zacchaeus found the Lord, he was so filled with joy, peace and love because for once, he knew he was loved unconditionally.  When we have love, we no longer cling to earthly things.  This is not to say that money and things are not important but they are no longer ends in themselves but a means to promote love and joy through our sharing with others.  In turn, we are filled with the joy and love of God.

So as we celebrate this dedication service today, let us give thanks to God.  Let us pay attention to the Word of God like the Israelites did.  When Ezra opened the book “all the people raised their hands and answered, ‘Amen! Amen!’; then they bowed down and, face to the ground, prostrated themselves before the Lord.” Let it not be just an external expression of our faith in God but a commitment to living out the Word of God in our lives. With the psalmist we say, “Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life. The law of the Lord is perfect, it revives the soul. The rule of the Lord is to be trusted; it gives wisdom to the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, they gladden the heart. The command of the Lord is clear; it gives light to the eyes.”

In this way, we are as St Paul says, “part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ Jesus himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord; and you too, in him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.”  As we align ourselves with the Lord and build our lives on Him, we will truly become the living Temple of God so that through us, others can encounter God in our love and humble, selfless service to all, regardless of race, language or religion.

Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore 

China police rescue 32 trafficked Vietnamese brides

February 9, 2017

Authorities arrest 75 suspects allegedly part of ring that lured women to Yunnan province with promises of tourism and work


Agence France-Presse
Thursday, February 9, 2017

Chinese police have rescued 32 Vietnamese women who were sold as brides to Chinese farmers, authorities said on Thursday, in an operation aimed at curbing the practice in the impoverished countryside.

Authorities arrested 75 suspects who were allegedly part of a ring that lured women to southwest China’s Yunnan province with promises of tourism and work, the provincial public security department said in a statement posted on its official social media account.

The victims were kept in large numbers in “captive families” in Yunnan – close to the Vietnamese border – in remote, mountainous areas before being sold to people in six provinces in central and east China, state broadcaster CCTV said.

When one victim tried to escape, “two men caught me and beat me with a steel pipe”, she told reporters. “They threatened me when I refused to be their bride.”

Bride trafficking is a serious problem in mainland China, where women are sold to men, mostly in rural areas, who cannot find wives at home because of the country’s huge sex imbalance.

The problem is particularly serious in impoverished areas, where farmers see “buying” a bride from abroad as cheaper than paying a dowry for a local bride.

For decades, mainland China’s one-child policy led many traditional families – who prefer sons to daughters – to have sex-selective abortions, skewing the sex ratio.

Police began investigating the case in September 2015 after discovering a woman, who did not speak Chinese, had been sold as a bride from Vietnam for 80,000 yuan (US$11,600 or HK$90,230), the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The 32 rescued women are being transferred back to Vietnam, CCTV said.

Chinese police “rescued and repatriated” 1,281 abducted foreign women in 2012 alone, most of them from Southeast Asia, the state-run China Daily reported.

Human traffickers could face the death penalty in China.